I just returned from a three day road trip to Austin, Texas that didn’t meet my usual road trip level of excitement. It was a short trip that we took because Mr. Yapa had business in Austin and as for me, I just love to get away even if it’s only a few hours from home. I can usually find something positive to write home about whether it’s the food, the shopping, the historical sites or just some cool spot I didn’t know about before. Being a Texas girl, this was not my first trip to Austin and having seen, eaten and done all the usual stuff, I was looking for something different.
First, we spent the evening driving out to Lake Travis. I’ve been there before and remember it being a pretty lake and in a gorgeous setting. Little did we know that the lake levels are down 40-50 feet. Yeah, that’s a lot! Where there used to be beautiful lake views were now views of water in puddles with much land showing. We stopped at The Oasis, which bills itself as the sunset capital of Texas, for a quick snack and drink and were dumbfounded by how empty the lake looked from this iconic restaurant. The drought in Texas was pretty bad last year but I had no inkling that things were still so rough just a few short hours south of us. Needless to say, we missed out on the beautiful sunset over the water that we were expecting.
The next morning, after taking Mr. Yapa to work, I saw a sign downtown that pointed to the LBJ Museum and library. I thought, “Wow. That might be fun.” Seriously! I’ve never visited a presidential museum or library but I do love history and Lyndon Baines Johnson became president after the death of Kennedy. That means everything in the museum would be dated to the 60’s. How fun is that? See what I mean? Well, being the Google queen around our house, I checked them out on the web when I got back to the hotel so I would know where exactly they were. For those of you not familiar, the University of Texas is right downtown on the north side. The library is located at UT. I was saddened to find out that they are actually in a remodel project and most of the exhibits are closed. I decided it was worth giving a shot anyway. Who knows… they said you could view the limo and the oval office. Ok, that’s pretty cool. And away I went. Little did I know that when she told me those were two things you could view, she really meant those are the ONLY two things you can view. First, the car is pretty spiffy! All black and angular. Back in the 60’s everything had sharp angles there weren’t any of the smooth rounded lines we see today.
I headed up to the 10th floor (must be missing quite a bit I thought as the floors ticked by) to check out the oval office. I love the aqua colors, especially the desktop and the chair. I don’t know if this room is to scale or not but it seems like it should be bigger. After all, the oval office is where the President works. My favorite part of the room is the coffee table with the phone drawer that pulled out. That was so “cool tech” back then. What you can’t see in the pictures is the bank of four television screens. Yep, only 4. Well, we only had four channels back then, ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS.
In the room right before the oval office is a wall of memorabilia from the Whitehouse during LBJ’s presidency. The left wall contains an assortment of gifts presented to the President and First Lady from dignitaries around the world. The right side of the wall contains memorabilia from the ranch where LBJ lived which was referred to as the Texas Whitehouse. It truly amazed me the beauty of some of the jewelry and especially the two ceremonial swords shown in the picture below.
What is it they say about the “best laid plans”? Sometimes when you travel you have to just roll with the punches. On the morning of our last day, I spent two hours of it at Discount Tire getting a replacement for a front tire. One of the hazards of road trips is the wear and tear on vehicles especially tires in Texas in the summer. I really intended to go by a couple of the must see sights and share a few pics but I’ll have to save that for another quickie trip.
I do want to mention two fabulous places to eat while in Austin. The first is perfect for lunch or even dinner. That’s Torchy’s Tacos. These tacos are like nothing you’ve ever eaten. My recommendation is anything they have but I particularly like the fried avocado with Poblano sauce. Yum! The next place is an Austin institution, Threadgill’s. There are two locations, North and South, and either is a pleasure to visit. They have a long history with music as well as great food. Heck, they still have live music in both locations. This is reportedly where Janis Joplin got her start too. The food is excellent, the staff friendly and the history oozes from the walls. Try the pecan crusted chicken breast with roasted pecan gravy! It makes my mouth water just typing about it.
Do you ever take road trips? If not, have you ever thought about it. I’ll be sharing more on road trips in the coming month. We have a big one we are working on and I can’t wait to share it with you.